The Wounded (Star Trek: The Next Generation)

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"The Wounded"
Star Trek: The Next Generation episode
Episode no.Season 4
Episode 12
Directed byChip Chalmers
Story by
Teleplay byJeri Taylor
Featured musicDennis McCarthy
Cinematography byMarvin Rush
Production code186
Original air dateJanuary 28, 1991 (1991-01-28)
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
← Previous
"Data's Day"
Next →
"Devil's Due"
Star Trek: The Next Generation (season 4)
List of Star Trek: The Next Generation episodes

"The Wounded" is the 86th episode of the syndicated American science fiction television series Star Trek: The Next Generation, the 12th episode of the fourth season.

Picard is shocked when a highly respected starship captain apparently turns renegade and begins destroying Cardassian vessels. Captain Maxwell claims that the Cardassians, who recently signed a treaty with the Federation, are secretly rearming for war but he has no proof. Picard demands that Maxwell—Transporter Chief O'Brien's former commanding officer—surrender his ship, but Maxwell refuses. Reluctant to fire on a fellow officer, Picard asks O'Brien to convince his old comrade to surrender peacefully.


While patrolling near Cardassian space, the starship Enterprise is suddenly attacked by a Cardassian vessel. Captain Picard (Patrick Stewart) is able to convince its commander, Gul Macet (Marc Alaimo), to stand down, and learns that Macet's attack was in retaliation for a Federation ship attacking a Cardassian science station two days prior. Picard confirms this with Starfleet, and is told that the starship Phoenix, commanded by Captain Benjamin Maxwell (Bob Gunton), was responsible for the prior attack, and ordered to locate the vessel. Picard offers Gul Macet and two of his officers to come aboard as observers to maintain the fragile peace between the Federation and Cardassia. As the Enterprise looks for signs of the Phoenix, Picard discovers that transporter chief Miles O'Brien (Colm Meaney) was a former crewmember under Maxwell on the Rutledge during the Cardassian war, and offers him to join in a briefing for Gul Macet. There, O'Brien reveals he still harbors some resentment for the Cardassians, revealing that Maxwell's family was killed by Cardassians. Gul Macet infers that Maxwell must be out for revenge, but O'Brien denies this.

The Enterprise locates the Phoenix on an intercept course for a Cardassian freighter, but they will not be able to reach it in time. Picard lets Gul Macet relay the position of the Phoenix to a closer Cardassian cruiser, but Maxwell's tactics are able to overwhelm it, and both the cruiser and freighter are lost, killing over 650 Cardassians.

Shortly thereafter, the Enterprise rendezvous with the Phoenix, and Maxwell transports aboard, greeting O'Brien as an old friend. Alone, Maxwell asserts to Picard that the Cardassians are re-arming themselves; the science station was a cover for a military base, and the freighters are carrying weapons. Picard convinces Maxwell that this is not proper behavior for a Starfleet captain, and gains his assurance that he will pilot the Phoenix directly back to Federation space. However, en route, the Phoenix breaks course towards another freighter. Maxwell is poised to destroy the freighter, demanding that the Federation officers be allowed aboard to see proof of the Cardassian's deception. The Enterprise crew notes that the freighter is equipped with a field that blocks their scans. Picard prepares to fire on the Phoenix as to maintain the peace with the Cardassians, but O'Brien requests to beam over to the Phoenix, using a transporter trick to sneak past its shield, and talk to Maxwell. Aboard the Phoenix, O'Brien and Maxwell reminisce about their time aboard the Rutledge and singing a song from their common Irish ancestry. Eventually, O'Brien is able to convince Maxwell there is no way that he can win the current scenario, and Maxwell agrees. He transfers his command to his first officer and the Phoenix starts its return to Federation space, while Maxwell returns to the Enterprise with O'Brien, to be held there pending return to Starfleet.

As the Cardassian observers are returned to their ship, Picard cautions them that while Maxwell's actions may have been improper, his fears about the Cardassian's intentions appear to be true; the so-called "science station" was located in a strategic military position but with little scientific value, and the fields on the freighter were specifically designed to block Federation scanning. He cautions Gul Macet that the Federation will be watching the Cardassians very closely in the future.


  • "The Wounded" introduces a new species of aliens, the Cardassians, who would become a major element of the series Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
  • This episode was the first to feature Colm Meaney's character Miles O'Brien in a prominent role. It makes reference to O'Brien's history with the Cardassians, and the massacre at Setlik III which would be touched upon again several times during the run of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, where it would be revealed that O'Brien was known as "the hero of Setlik III" and repaired a transporter for the first time while rescuing several of his shipmates.
  • The song "The Minstrel Boy" returns as a leitmotif for O'Brien in "What You Leave Behind", the series finale of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
  • Gul Macet was played by Marc Alaimo in his third appearance on The Next Generation. He would go on to portray another Cardassian, Gul Dukat, a recurring character and primary antagonist on Deep Space Nine. It also marks the only appearance of a Cardassian with facial hair.


In 2014, Gizmodo rated "The Wounded" the 80th greatest episode of Star Trek.[1]

In 2009, IGN ranked the guest character, Starfleet's Benjamin Maxwell as the 25th best character of Star Trek.[2] In 2016, W.I.R.E.D. magazine ranked Benjamin Maxwell as the 94th most important character of Starfleet within the Star Trek science fiction universe.[3]

In 2017, Business Insider listed "The Wounded" as one of the most underrated episodes of the Star Trek franchise at that time.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ Movies, I. G. N. (May 8, 2009). "Top 25 Star Trek Characters". IGN. Retrieved March 20, 2019.
  3. ^ McMillan, Graeme (September 5, 2016). "Star Trek's 100 Most Important Crew Members, Ranked". Wired. ISSN 1059-1028. Retrieved March 20, 2019.
  4. ^ Holodny, Elena. "The 31 most underrated 'Star Trek' episodes". Business Insider. Retrieved June 11, 2019.

External links[edit]